Disc golf tee pad construction varies from course to course — be it the preparation and installation, or the materials that make up the tee pad itself. The most common types of tee pads in disc golf are: concrete, rubber, pavers and natural. This article isn’t going to focus on the materials that comprise the tee pad, but will be taking a look at the preparation of the teeing area itself, and understanding how “pitch” can make our break the longevity of your tee pad.
After a rain storm passes through your town, you can quickly tell if the installers of the course’s tee pads understood “pitch.” If they understood this concept, the tee pads would be dry with water sheeting off at the sides and infiltrating the earth immediately. If they didn’t understand, water would pool in the middle or just slightly in back of the tee pad — both rendering the launching area unsafe and rather useless for the time being.
“Pitch” is found in every safe hardscape installation — think of patios, walkways, gathering spaces or disc golf tee pads — yet it is almost undetectable to the human eye. “Pitch” is used to move water off the surface area of a space, as it is either a slipping hazard in the warmer months or an ice sheet when below freezing. The standard “pitch” in the landscape construction world is ¼” for every linear foot. So using a standard 5’ x 10’ tee pad as an example — the front of the tee pad should be2.5” lower than the back of the tee pad. If you wanted to get into cross “pitch,” the tee pad should “crown” in the middle — like a highway road — and sheet water off to each side. The center of the tee pad would be about 0.5” higher than the sides, but for this example, it’s not necessary to address.
While cross pitch is something that is absolutely necessary to address in spaces like patios and walkways, it’s not really that important for smaller spaces like a 5’ x 10’ tee pad. That being said, “pitch” should be addressed so that after a rain storm, you can still use the tee pad, instead of having to tee off on the side or behind the space.
Many can argue where water should be diverted on a disc golf tee pad. For simplicity, let’s just look “pitching” the tee pad in one direction — from front to back, or vice versa. What’s better? Do you want to have no run up space, and then be able to fall off the front of the tee pad, or would you rather have the opposite? Ultimately, it would be best to divert the water to the front side of the tee pad, and have a small swale that drains the water away from the playing area. Then you could have a long run up, launching area, and then be able to fall off the front of the tee pad safely.
Either way you slice it — “pitching” the tee pad from front to back or vice versa — you will barely be able to feel it. If you think that having a completely level tee pad is the best scenario, we suggest you research “pitch” and movement of water. If the front of the tee pad is higher than the back, you will barely be able to feel it and same with the other way around. Yes, you can feel “pitch” much more significantly over shorter spaces, but the safety that will come from a dry, launching pad will be much appreciated by disc golfers looking to play after a couple days of rain.